Saving money at grocery store may require a change of mindset
Want to really save money at the grocery store? Change your mindset — and the contents of your cart.
Scripps Howard News Service
Q: I've tried couponing before and it just didn't work for me. My friends keep telling me I have to learn to shop differently. What in the world does it mean to shop differently?
A: First, let me ask you a question: What determines what goes in your grocery cart?
No matter how many times I ask this question I always hear:
— What my family needs or has run out of.
— What is on sale or what I have a coupon for.
— Items on my meal plan.
This is how the majority of us shop, right? We've been trained to shop out of need. Meaning I'm out of cereal, so I've got to buy more. Or we just used our last box of pasta — I'm adding it to my grocery list.
The problem with shopping based on what we need or have run out of is that we are willing to pay a higher price. Think about it, what happens when you run out of toilet paper? I can only speak for myself, but when we are out it doesn't matter to me how much it costs, I'm not leaving the store without it.
Change your mindset; change your cart.
Basically, we've got to learn how to shop differently. We have to change our mindset and start buying what our families use, not need.
For example, if pasta is on sale this week for a great price and there just happens to be a coupon that makes it 15 cents per box, ask yourself: Does your family use pasta?
Whether you need it or not, buy. And not just one box! Buy enough to last about 10 to 12 weeks until the next sale cycle.
How many? That depends how much your family would use over a 10- to 12-week period. If you use a box of pasta every two weeks, then buy six boxes. At only 15 cents a box, I'd encourage you to pick up an extra box or two to donate.
Learning to shop differently will help you save time, effort and lots of money. Keep in mind that it will take a while to get used to an entirely new way of thinking, and it will also take time to build up a sensible stockpile. However, after just a few weeks of shopping differently, you'll start to see your savings grow and grocery costs shrink.